To Veg or Not To Veg, That is the Question
For a few years now, Husband and I have contemplated becoming vegetarians. Not vegan types, because we are both completely addicted to cheese and yogurt, and also love eggs very much.
We eat vegetarian meals 2 or 3 times a week. We have vegetarian friends who recently introduced us to a company called Quorn. This company, Quorn, is producing a soy-free meat substitute, that, I kid you not, would fool most people into believing that they are not eating a vegetarian meal. We eat a lot of MorningStar and Boca products, and while they are tasty and full of protein and fiber, and I enjoy eating them, they never really fool me into believing that I am eating meat. But, the Quorn products have a taste and texture that is very very much like chicken.
On the other hand, if I am eating something that tastes LIKE chicken, why not just eat some chicken?
Well, I guess there are several viable reasons: some people don’t eat meat because they object to eating food with a face.
Some people don’t eat meat because they object to the mass marketing of meat products in the United States which raises issues of cruelty to animals and questionable safety of the meat product (i.e. mad cow disease.)
Some people don’t eat meat because of health concerns, and it is true that the meat substitutes tend to have a lot of protein (like meat) but also contain fiber, which is an added health benefit.
I think that the reasons that my husband and I have considered becoming vegetarian has to do with our concerns about the safety of the meat industry, concerns about the circumstances that the animals are living in, and health concerns. On the other hand, I am concerned about feeding my son too many soy products (although, the above mentioned Quorn is a soy-free protein).
I often wonder (without asking, because it seems rude) if my vegetarian friends and acquaintances would eat meat if they could easily get free range chicken and free range beef. (D~, I’m pretty sure your answer would be no. :-) ) (I’m not sure if there is such a thing, technically, as “free range” beef. What I mean is, happy cows wandering around.)
I have a real love affair with beef – there is a beef, mushroom, and hummos dish at a restaurant near our house that I have downright irrestible cravings for. I love beef tenderloin, and I love beef stew, and especially Japanese style curried beef stew, and I’m not sure, at this point, that I feel like giving them up.
I have found a farm, about 25 minutes from our house, where we can buy a ¼ or 1/2 of a cow. A quarter or a half of a happy cow who spent his life wandering around on a farm, instead of cooped up in a barn, who has not been fed mountains of antibiotics or mashed up pieces of other cow. (And I find this very appealing, because Mad Cow Disease really scares the crap out of me.) (Also, buying a cow in this way, is actually not much more expensive than buying beef at the grocery store - some cuts are cheaper, actually. You just have to have room to store it all.)
So, I think for the moment, we are going to start there. Buying our meat in the form of happy cows. Or, rather, cows that had happy lives. And I think we might increase our meat free meals from 2 to 3 per week to 3 or 4 per week, now that we have found this soy free Quorn product.
Have I mentioned BACON in this post, because truly, BACON is a huge sticking point with me and the vegetarian question. Bacon...mmmm...bacon...